February 11, 2021 11:42:36 am
Large stretches of dry vegetation on the hills near Katraj Tunnel on the outskirts of Pune city were gutted by the fire that started on Wednesday night. The blaze, which mainly affected privately owned land tracts on slopes, was brought under control after nightlong efforts from forest department personnel and firefighters.
The fire blaze started in the stretch of the hilly area between Katraj tunnel and Shindewadi sometime 8.30 pm and was brought under control around 2 am on Thursday. No loss of life or property was reported in the fire and it did not spread to human settlement. The cause of the fire could not be ascertained immediately.
After receiving multiple calls from local residents and people passing on the adjacent Pune Bangalore highway, teams from the Pune Forest Department and the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) fire brigade rushed to the spot.
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Range Forest Officer for the region Mukesh Sanas said, “The stretches where the fire had spread are privately owned tracts of slopes on these hills. While there are no big trees, the stretch is covered with smaller trees and grass which have gutted in the fire. Our teams from Pune reached the spot, so did the teams from the Bhor forest division from the other side. The spreading fire was brought under control manually by beating and we made sure it did not spread into the adjacent forest area. We had already drawn firelines in the past to ensure that such fires do not spread a lot. However, loss of wildlife such as birds and small animals can not be avoided in such cases.” As many as 30 forest department personnel were a part of the effort.
PMRDA’s Fire officer Sujit Patil said, “After climbing on foot to the slopes which had caught fire, our teams made use of tools called fire beaters and green branches of trees to extinguish the fire by way of beating. The fire had spread into three directions — one towards Katraj tunnel, another towards Shindewadi and the third on the slope in the back side of Shindewadi. By the time we reached, the Forest Department teams had already started extinguishing the fire and later we joined them. The spreading fires were brought under control around 2 am this morning.”
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